Avoiding Stress While Applying for Colleges

If you’re a Junior or Senior, listen up!


Giuliana Barberio

From sophmore to senior, worrying about college is a staple of springtime. Stress levels tend to increase significantly for students during this time of year. They might start to think about what it is they want to do after high school, and debate whether or not that requires another four(ish) years of schooling. Students want to make the right decision; the pressure to get into a person’s dream schools is through the roof. Not to worry, though! Parents, guidance counselors, and even friends are a great resource for any questions you may have.

Guidance counselors try their hardest to make the application process easier for their students. They ask that you make an appointment with them to talk about where you plan on going and what you are considering majoring in. Junior conferences are the most helpful when you have any confusion about what colleges look for as well as what you need to do prior to getting there. Guidance counselors can offer great advice on which classes you should think about taking, and what colleges you should consider looking into. 

Websites like Naviance and Common App are great resources to use for exploring your options. Naviance stated that they are used for “providing students with tools for college planning and career assessments”. They are perfect for figuring out what you want to do based on your skills, as well as viewing the requirements and details of the schools you’re interested in. Common App was curated to make the application part of college simple. One-click and you’re done.

Michelle Kurianowicz, a senior at Lindenhurst High School, shared the struggles she faced in the college planning process, as well as how she has handled it. “The hardest part when it came to choosing colleges to apply to was figuring out if it had programs, how far they were from home, and how much aid they gave.”

Michelle mentioned that she took part in clubs like Model UN, DECA, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and National Honor Society. She played tennis in the fall and continues to write for her school newspaper, The Charles Street Times. Michelle volunteered for We Connect the Dots, took college courses, and attended polish school. “When I started high school I joined a ton of clubs because I was told that’s what colleges look for. As I went through the years, I realized what I liked and I stuck to it”, Michelle told The Charles Street Times in her interview. 

When looking back at all the hard work she put into her academics, Kurianowicz believes there is not a single thing she could have done differently. Quality time spent with friends, though, was something that she wished she took more seriously. “Nothing. There’s nothing I could’ve done better, maybe study for Physics more but that’s about it. Though I wish I spent more time socializing and now that I realize all the work I put in doesn’t matter that much, I wish I had spent more time with my friends.”

Two other seniors from the Lindenhurst High School shared the same outlook when reflecting on the hardest part in applying to colleges. They both looked for schools that had good programs and worked around their major. All three seniors looked back on their work ethic with approval, believeing they had to push themselves to reach their goals.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, campuses all around the world have found themselves needing to raise their tuition and lower their acceptance rates. The cost of tuition for colleges and universities have been rising at a slow pace for the past two years. Due to a combination of staff shortages, increasing gas prices, and having to pay employees at a moderate pace, students are now required to pay extra when paying for their college tuition. Between 2019 to 2022, many have noticed the acceptance rate percentages plummeting for many schools across the globe. 

Signature College Counseling reported the drastic change in acceptance rates for a couple colleges in particular: University of Chicago, Northwestern, and Duke. Schools have also met a downfall in their number of students graduating each year. Many young adults choose the career path over their education leaving colleges with a lower and lower graduation rate each year. 

With summer just around the corner, many high school students are finding themselves looking to the future with uncertainty and dismay. The thought of college can be daunting, but with the help of these handy college resources, seniors and sophomores alike can get back to worrying about sunburn, not acceptance rates!